Third Seamless Canada roundtable addresses improved health care access for military families

The Commander of Military Personnel Command for the Canadian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Charles Lamarre (seated, third from left), and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, (seated, fourth from left) met with participants from Canada’s provinces and territories to discuss the Seamless Canada initiative in Ottawa on June 11. Photo credit: Master Corporal Daniel Merrell, CFSU(O) ***Le lieutenant général Charles Lamarre (rangée du bas, 3e à partir de la gauche), commandant du Commandement du personnel militaire des Forces armées canadiennes, et l’honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, ministre de la Défense nationale (rangée du bas, 4e à partir de la gauche), ont rencontré des participants de provinces et de territoires canadiens à Ottawa, le 11 juin 2019, afin de discuter de l’initiative Canada Sans Faille. Photo : Caporal chef Daniel Merrell, USFC(O)

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One June 11, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces representatives met again in Ottawa with their provincial and territorial counterparts to advance the Canadian Armed Forces’ Seamless Canada initiative.

Bringing together Seamless Canada representatives for the third time since the initiative was launched, the Ottawa symposium focussed on finding ways military families can better access health care services when relocated to another province.  Participants exchanged best practices and shared current innovative approaches. Delivering health care to military families is a top priority because the greatest number of family members are affected by this particular challenge.

During this latest symposium, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, emphasized his support for the Seamless Canada initiative.

“Looking after the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces and their families is our top priority,” Minister Sajjan said. “Moving for military postings can be a difficult experience for members and their families, and we are committed to making that easier by resolving issues around relocation. We appreciate being able to work collaboratively with the provinces and the territories to find ways to improve the lives of Canada’s military families.”

National Defence launched Seamless Canada in June 2018 with the goal of improving the coordination of relocation services across the country for Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.

Seamless Canada continues to build on steps taken by provincial ministries in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick that enhance services for military families. Other provinces have worked with Military Family Resource Centres to streamline some services in those jurisdictions.

The Province of Alberta has formally appointed a military special envoy for the province and has set up a website with centralized information pertinent to military families. They were also the first province to launch a web portal for military families.

The Province of Ontario is maintaining a dedicated website with information to help military families settle in the province and is actively working towards improving access to primary health care in rural communities.

The Province of Manitoba has made it easier for military families to find supports and services through an updated military portal on the Manitoba government’s website and has also appointed a special envoy for military affairs.

The Province of New Brunswick provided additional funding for child care spaces in the province.

The next Seamless Canada roundtable will be held in the spring of 2020, where the focus will be twofold: continuing the discussion on access to health care for military families, and further exploring spousal employment related issues.

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